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From Rihanna and Drake to Beenie Man and Mya: 7 songs to get you ready for carnival season

Amanda Parris

This week on Marvin's Room we're celebrating carnival season.

Listen to Marvin's Room, August 4th 2017

Marvin's Room with Amanda Parris on CBC Radio


The end of July to early August marks carnival season in cities across Canada like Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Edmonton, Ottawa and Hamilton, plus countries around the world such as Antigua, Barbados, the British Virign Islands and Grenada. So in celebration of the season, here are seven R&B songs to get you in the mood for the sounds of the Caribbean.

Rihanna feat. Drake, 'Work'

Although this song came out when we were still shovelling snow from our driveways, the song (and video) pack enough heat to get added to a summertime soundtrack.

Jully Black feat. DeMarco, 'Sweat of Your Brow'

Carnival season is all about music that not only makes you want to jump up, but also makes you celebrate life. It's virtually impossible to put feathers and glitter on without smiling and feeling good. — and postive energy is an essential part of the costume. So in the spirit of carnival, this is Jully Black’s motivational anthem “Sweat of Your Brow.”

Roy Wood$, 'Gwan Big Up Urself

Roy Wood$ played football when he was in high school in Brampton, Ont., and apparently he was pretty good at it, too. But he kept getting concussions, which forced him to make a difficult decision: he left the game and turned to his second love, music. Given the rapid ascent Roy Wood$'s career has taken, it doesn’t look like he’ll be regretting that decision any time soon.

Glenn Lewis feat. Kardinal Offishall, ‘Back for More’

You may recall that in the late '90s, you couldn’t talk about Canadian R&B without mentioning Glenn Lewis. With a strong Stevie Wonder influence and an endorsement from Alicia Keys, Lewis had a string of hits including this reggae-inspired track featuring another Toronto favourite, Kardinall Offishall.

PartyNextDoor, 'Not Nice'

PartyNextDoor is generally known for his moody, ambient sound, but he takes a slight diversion with this song. A classic summer jam, it’s impossible to listen to without moving.

Jidenna, ‘Little Bit More’

Jidenna is a master at bridging worlds. After growing up in both Nigeria and the United States, Jidenna decided to use his perspective as a springboard for his brand and craft. From his style to his sound, the experiment seems to be paying off.

Beenie Man feat. Mya, 'Girls Dem Sugar'

When the song “Girls Dem Sugar” by Beenie Man and Mya came out, it was blasting out of barbershops and hair salons in every Caribbean neighbourhood, and would get played on repeat at basement bashments and all-ages jams. A collaboration with the Neptunes, it's a classic in the R&B-reggae fusion canon.

The Marvin's Room playlist for Aug. 4, 2017

  1. Lisa Stansfield, "All Around the World"
  2. Toni Braxton, "Another Sad Love Song"
  3. Brandy, "I Wanna Be Down"
  4. Tamara Madison, "Seldom"
  5. Santana feat. the Product G&B, "Maria Maria"
  6. Roy Woods, "Gwan Big Up Urself"
  7. Jully Black feat. DeMarco, "Sweat of Your Brow"
  8. Cham feat. Alicia Keys, "Ghetto Story Part 2"
  9. Wyclef Jean feat. Claudette Ortiz, "Two Wrongs"
  10. The Isley Brothers, "Summer Breeze"
  11. Allie, "Bad Habits"
  12. Merna, "Sky Lights"